Using a Catfish, or torqueless bowstring loop has a lot of benefits and is very versatile. Because of the nature of the loop it is virtually impossible to impart torque to the bowstring and bow through the release. There are infinite angles to hold a release at and the loop shown here will ensure that none of them will cause any undo stress or twisting to the string.
This first video takes a look at one way to tie the loop. The nails in this version are 2 1/2″ apart and the loop is intended to be used under the arrow. If tying a loop that is to be used by straddling the nock, I use nails that are 2 3/4″ apart. Depending on the thickness of the serving used, different numbers of loops will be needed to get the desired thickness. My favorite serving has become Crown Serving by Brownell in .022″. For this serving, I use 6 total wraps for a thickness of 12 total strands.
Here are the measurements I have been using for a loop that is done on 2 1/2″ nails. The loops are just over 3/4″ on each end with a little under 1″ of wrapping down the center.This next video shows how to install the loop using two different methods. The first is placing the loop under the nock and can be done without removing the bowstring. Secondly I show how to install a loop that straddles the nock by removing the bowstring.
Here is a finished loop with a nock set tied above the nock, the string loop below the nock, and a bit more of serving under the loop to keep it from traveling down to bowstring.
There are other methods of tying the loops as well. It is possible to tie a loop that straddles the nock without removing the bowstring by tying the loop onto the string directly; it’s also and option to serve the loop into place to keep it from rotating around the bowstring and aid in aligning the peep.
I personally prefer to have the loop loose on the string. The advantage of this method is that it is the most torque-free and has the least chance of interfering with the string position at full draw and through the shot. However, it will not aid in aligning the peep. Rather I prefer to get the peep aligned perfectly by tweaking the string twists slightly and/or swapping string strands across the peep. Of course this requires that you have a bow press handy and is not an option for everyone.
I am currently working on a more elegant way to tie the loop without using knots, but I need to do some thorough testing on shooting one until I will be satisfied that is it a safe and stout method. Check back to see the (hopeful) improvement!
Why Use a Catfish or Torqueless Bowstring loop?
There several good reasons to use a this type of loop over a standard loop as well as a few disadvantages:
- No knots to come undone
- Does not place any torque on the bowstring, no matter the release position
- Virtually indestructible
- Easily field replaceable in certain configurations
- Takes time and practice to learn to tie properly
- Rotates about string freely, cannot use to pull peep into proper position
I’ve had several people ask me to make loops for them and I’ve done it on an individual basis (if they asked nice!) and have decided to keep some on hand for anyone that wants to try them. They are $5 with free shipping and you can order them here:
Proceeds will go to buying more and different materials to experiment on making them with, and maybe even colors in the future!